No, that’s not a typo!
Before I go on, I want to be clear that summer slide is a very real thing. Learning is a skill and like any other skill, it takes regular practice. Just ask Michael Phelps – when he doesn’t practice, he doesn’t finish races with new personal best times. Even in the breast stroke (which he r-a-r-e-l-y swims).
The Summer Slide
In a report released earlier this spring, Reading is Fundamental outlined some of the very real reasons for summer slide. Two Key Findings in Read for Success: Combating the Summer Slide in America stood out.
- A child’s access to books (the study focused on rural / impoverished areas) is critical.
- Engaging – and guiding – parents in working with their children is equally important.
Every year, from mid-spring through Labor Day-ish, #summerslide is part of our literacy conversation. From “get ready, it’s coming” to “let’s prevent” ideas, talk of summer slide is all around us. Consciously or subconsciously, it is on our minds. It’s been on my mind a lot, too.
I’m thinking about that blurring line between getting the word out and raising awareness and mounting that “high horse” from which we measure parents who “failed” to keep their kids’ skills razor sharp. The summer snide.
What do to about Summer Snide
This post is for those of us who may be feeling guilty about letting reading practice and math worksheets slide this summer.
- Could we have done things differently? Maybe. Probably.
- Should we cram 10 weeks worth of worksheets in before school starts next week? Probably not.
Enjoy what’s left of your summer.
Spend your energy focusing on the learning ahead and getting your kids excited about what’s to come. Cramming wasn’t a good thing in college, so it definitely isn’t something to model for a second grader! Changing the routine to add in daily practice drills and worksheets now are more likely to discourage that excitement of learning than make up for “lost” time.
Stop worrying. There is nothing you can do about the summer snide. Let. It. Go. Did you have a good summer? Did you do fun things with your kids? Awesome.
I bet y’all had wonderful conversations and learned some really cool things. Did your son call Grandma to tell her about the man-eating jellyfish he found? Bet she loved that! Did your daughter draw a picture to send to her favorite aunt? Cool.
Don’t get me wrong, reading with your child is important, but it isn’t the only way to build their vocabulary, practice their reading, and strengthen their literacy skills. As the RIF study reminded us – helping our kids achieve success is a partnership between parents and kids.
Take heart in the everyday ways that you engage your children with literacy and learning.